Tag Archives: Suspense novel

Welcome Sean Keefer, Author of The Trust

“…I don’t specialize. I don’t work for a huge firm with posh offices, and I don’t turn the television on at night hoping to see my latest commercial. I just practice law….” ~ from The Trust

Often, a Lawyer is the last person you want to call, because it means you’re either in trouble or in for a big bill. But, Noah Parks – an attorney and the main character in Sean Keefer’s debut novel The Trust – is an unassuming lawyer, a gentleman, and not really in it for the money.

He’s the perfect man, then, to handle the probate of Leonardo Xavier Cross’ will. However, a simple probate quickly turns into a case of murder, and Noah Parks finds himself sleeping in the same house as the number one suspect. And, she parades through the house in his boxers and tee shirt.

How’s that for a tease?

In real life, Sean Keefer is a practicing attorney in Charleston, South Carolina where he lives with his wife and two Australian Shepherds. Today, he stops by to talk about The Trust, about marketing and promotion, and to offer his key advice for others working toward publication.

Oh. You wanted more on the boxers and tee shirt character? You’ll have to read the book. Better yet, leave a comment after the interview, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a copy of The Trust. Random.org will choose a winner on Tuesday, August 16th.

CC: Writers often debate the pros and cons of using real versus imaginary cities for settings in a novel. The story in your novel takes place in Charleston, South Carolina, your home town. Were there any challenges (or perhaps big perks) you encountered in rooting THE TRUST in such a familiar place?

SK: It was an interesting thing, setting The Trust in Charleston.  I consider Charleston my “adopted” hometown as I am actually from a ways up the SC coast.  That being said I’ve always loved the city.  I had the opportunity to visit several times during my childhood and, in many ways, I feel I was destined to end up here.

Something about this area just motivates me to write and while I discover new things about the city on a daily basis, it felt only natural to set the book here. The most challenging part of the process was taking the time to describe the area and remembering that not everyone knows the area as I do.  Many times I was tempted to simply jump ahead in the plot, but I found it fit the character of Charleston to blend the setting into the story.

CC: Your novel has received some exciting recognition – Honorable Mention in the 2011 Beach Book Festival Awards and The Bronze Medal in the Mystery-Suspense-Thriller category of the 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards – which I imagine helps promote your book. As an indie author, what are some other routes of promotion that have helped spread the word about your debut novel?

SK: A writer friend told me something recently – Anyone can write a book, that’s the easy part, it actually can be harder to read a book. The real challenge comes in marketing what has been written. No one told me, or should I say, made me believe the true challenges of book marketing.  Particularly as an indie author.  While I have perhaps a stronger desire to have my book succeed than any marketing professional may have for any book they are marketing, the professionals typically have large bank rolls behind them.  I just have little ol’e me.

I’ve learned that to successfully market a book you have to do it everyday and you can’t get upset at rejections or failures.  I make daily use of a variety of social media, but my most successful efforts have been when I get out and meet people and talk to them about my book.  People don’t get to meet a lot of writers and I’ve been humbled and flattered by the reception I have received (and continue to receive). The more people you talk to, the more people that will perhaps want to read your book. Of course the awards help too.

CC: I’m a believer that life informs writing (and vice versa). Since you are a lawyer in real life, I’m curious as to how that experience translates into your work as an author?

SK: As an attorney I am amazed by the fact that truth is always stranger than fiction.  I find inspiration on a daily basis from what I see in my work.  Many of my characters are amalgamations of people whom I meet in my work.  The struggle is to make sure that my writing doesn’t imitate my work life.

CC: What are you reading these days?

SK: Recently, I read In Leah’s Wake by Terri Giuliano Long.  I also just finished Iron House by John Hart.  I make sure to read Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole, at least once a year.

CC: Do you have any advice for writers on the rise?

SK: My advice for anyone starting out writing is simply to write.  If you don’t write something, you don’t have anything to read or even edit.  My motto when it comes to writing is “Write, Edit, Repeat.”

~

For more information on Sean Keefer and his novel, THE TRUST, visit his website, like his page on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter. Also, don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered to win a free copy of his debut novel. Check back on August 16th for the winner.

Soccer Moms, Indie Publishing, and a Kindle: An Interview with Author, Cathryn Grant

“…[A]ll the beautiful yards and parks make it look so peaceful and quiet.
That can make you feel safe and it’s not always safe.”
~The Demise of the Soccer Moms

~

People often leave behind the city life and take up residence on a quiet cul-de-sac in the suburbs. They expect to find the camaraderie of neighbors, and they brag about a low crime rate. But, under every silver lining there’s a dark side. And, maybe even a killer.

In Cathryn Grant’s debut novel, The Demise of the Soccer Moms, Grant takes readers through the niceties of small town life and into the dark corners of a suburban mind or two. What we discover is a group of women desperate to fit in, if only to distance themselves from their own skeletons in the closet.

Full of tension – so much so that I wasn’t sure which Soccer mom would unravel first – Grant’s novel shows us that when one woman refuses to follow the rules, the picture perfect world of Suburbia falls apart.

I’m honored to interview Cathryn Grant here, where she talks about her novel, indie publishing, and writing. At the end of the interview, read how you can enter to win a Kindle, fully loaded with The Demise of the Soccer Moms.

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CC: The Demise of the Soccer Moms paints a vivid picture of life in suburbia, with its illusions of perfection and grandeur. How much of the story comes from real life observations? If you run into someone with the same demeanor as Amy Lewis in your novel, do you get the chills (or do you grab your notebook)?

CG: I’ve lived in suburbia all my life, so I think my sense of its positive and negative sides is part of who I am and I don’t think of myself as observing it. I am always taking notes, and not just on suburbia. People fascinate me, and one of the themes that’s always knocking around my head is what would drive a normal person to commit homicide? (or any crime). When I see the mental and emotional suffering that some people endure, I wonder how people keep going, how they still manage to cope with life. (That sounds really, dark, but I’m not saying it in a negative way, I’m saying it because some people have had to endure so much.) I guess I have sympathy for people who go off the rails.

CC: In your novel, each of your main characters has a significant insecurity that leads her to commit a crime of one sort or another, but it’s the unraveling of one of your characters, in particular, towards the end that is especially chilling. In writing suspense, do you outline much before you type out your first draft? Or, do you let the characters’ lives (and secrets) unfold as you go?

CG: I tend to let it unfold. These characters came to me after a line of dialogue floated through my mind one day: “That woman’s not wearing a bra.” I saw these women sitting outside their children’s classrooms, and I wondered what what kind of person would come unhinged over another woman’s clothing choices. I wondered what would have happened in her life to make her so concerned about this stranger who walked onto the playground. I usually have a list of possible scenes, what might happen, and I work from that, adding scenes that come to me as I write through the first draft. I usually don’t know the ending, and one of my novels still in the virtual drawer doesn’t have an ending that satisfies me. I hope it comes to me some day.

CC: You spent a great deal of time considering and researching the idea of becoming an Indie Author. Now that your first book is published and in the hands of so many readers, how do you feel? Also, I know that you have a second book in the works; can you give us a little teaser?

CG: The publishing landscape changed enough, even from the time I started considering the Indie route, so that it helped cement my decision. Right now, I mostly feel relief because I worked on this novel for a very long time. A ridiculously long time. Some of the feedback from my early readers derailed me and I started to question the stories I wanted to tell. So right now, I feel relief that I’m done with this novel. But I’m also happy that even when I was making the final edits, I still got caught up in the story, still enjoyed my characters.

The working title for the next novel is DEBT. I’m working on the 2nd draft and expect to publish it in November 2011. It’s about a young couple that both work in high paying jobs but have still managed to get deeply into debt. As they try to hide their debt from their friends, their situation gets worse, and the conflict among the three couples leads to murder. (Wow, I can tell I need to get to work on that log line!)

CC: What are you reading these days?

CG: I’m reading a novel by an Indie crime writer, Darcia Helle, called THE CUTTING EDGE, and PORTOBELLO, by one of my favorite authors: Ruth Rendell.

CC: Do you have any thoughts or advice for writers on the rise?

CG: Two things inspired me. Years ago I read a quote from James Michener that said you would be a competent writer after you’d written a million words. Then recently I heard a quote from the book, OUTLIERS, that said people who put 10,000 hours into developing their craft or sport became successful. I actually tracked the 1,000,000 words in a spreadsheet. I’m still working on the 10,000 hours. (If you want to link to this … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outliers_%28book%29 )

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Enter the Suburban Noir contest for the chance to win a copy of “The Demise Of The Soccer Moms”. The grand prize is a Wi-Fi Kindle. Here’s how you do it:

Between February 4 and midnight PST, February 11, comment here or on any other OR ALL of the participating blogs (listed below) to get one entry per comment. Limit of one comment per blog for a possible total of 7 entries.

  1. Cathryn Grant’s very own blog
  2. Linda Cassidy Lewis at Out of My Mind
  3. Natasha at Nancy Drew Too
  4. Shelli Howells at A*Musings
  5. Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen at DJ’s Krimiblog
  6. And, on Feb. 10th, Amy Rose Davis at  A Modicum of Talent

Between February 4 and midnight PST, February 11, tweet any one OR ALL of the participating blogs. Limit of one tweet per blog for a possible total of 7 entries. Tweets must include @CathrynGrant for tracking purposes.

Participants can have a total of 14 entries between commenting on blogs and tweeting.

Winners will be announced on Cathryn’s blog on February 11th.

Ten people will win their choice of an eBook or paperback copy of Cathryn Grant’s Suburban Noir Thriller, “The Demise Of The Soccer Moms”. One additional person will win a Wi-Fi Graphite Kindle (valued at $139) pre-loaded with a copy of “The Demise Of The Soccer Moms”. Please note the paperback copy will not be available until March. Winners will be chosen by a random number generator.

Now go – read, comment, and tweet. And, while you’re waiting for the winner to be announced, read more of Cathryn’s words on her website, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.